The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has reviewed the cost of direct sponsorship of Nigerian cadets undergoing foreign training under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
The director-general of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh noted that the review of ongoing sponsorship costs has become necessary due to the global inflationary trends which are very pronounced in the Philippines, India and some other countries where Nigerian cadets are undergoing Certificate of Competency (CoC) training under the NSDP programme. The sponsorship covers training leading to obtaining the CoC.
“We are not unmindful of the unforeseen global inflationary trend which has affected the cost of sustaining our cadets sponsored [to study] in some schools under the NSDP programme. Though NIMASA paid the tuition, examination fee and the original cost of feeding and accommodation in full, with allowance for extra funds as pocket money, it is obvious that the cost of living has increased particularly in the Philippines due to the global inflation. The agency is working closely with the Nigerian Embassy in the Philippines to address the challenges associated with the unexpected price increases.
“We have put in place immediate and long-term arrangements to minimise the effect of inflation on their living standard during the programme. The management of the agency has approved an additional $2,000 for each cadet, as extra funds due to inflation. This is a short-term measure to cushion the effect. I am sure the Nigerian Embassy will get in touch with the students when the funds are ready to be disbursed. It is a well-coordinated arrangement through the embassy.
“While working closely with the Nigerian Embassy in the Philippines to establish appropriate, extra funds that may be required, NIMASA management is deploying a team on a fact-finding to interact with the students currently in the Philippines, officials of the Nigerian Embassy, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippines and some licensure examination training and review centres (TRCs),” he said.
The NIMASA boss said the 146 cadets have acquired the Philippines sailing license through the NSDP programme with 134 currently undergoing the programme and a further 170 being prepared to proceed to the Philippines for the examinations.
He added that the agency has also made firm arrangements to ensure those cadets who have spent the stipulated 6 months approved for the CoC programme in the Philippines return home immediately. NIMASA urged the cadets to ensure they conclude their CoC examinations as scheduled.
According to him, NIMASA initiated the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP) in 2008 to address the dearth of Nigerian seafarers on ocean-going vessels and the need to meet the indigenous manning requirements of coastal and inland shipping (Cabotage regime).
“The programme is designed to train Nigerian youths to become seafarers and naval architects in some of the best maritime training institutions (MTIs) across the world.
“So far, the agency has trained 2,241 cadets from the inception of the programme, with 841 graduates having obtained sailing licenses (CoC) from the maritime administrations of various countries. Out of this number, around 388 are now gainfully employed in maritime-related organizations while others are in their final stages of the programme,” he added.